Selling the Surge

Various items:

See Think Progress on the ad campaign that will sell the surge. It is sponsored by Freedom Watch, a right-wing front group for the White House headed by former press secretary Ari Fleischer.

The privately-funded ad campaign will run in 20 states, featuring Iraq war vets and families of fallen soldiers arguing that the war should continue. The four ads produced so far by Fleischer’s Freedom’s Watch group contain little more than fear-mongering about an Iraq pullout. “They attacked us and they will again. They won’t stop in Iraq,” one ad says. “It will mean more attacks in America,” says another. Yet another ad warns, “We’ve already had one 9/11, we don’t need another.”

Likening himself to a battlefield general, Fleischer said, “For people who believe in peace through strength, the cavalry is coming.”

Let me know if you see ’em. I doubt they’ll bother running the ads in New York.

At Salon, Tim Grieve documents that the mainstream media persists in misquoting Democrats to make them seem supportive of the surge.

As we noted Monday, Sens. Carl Levin and John Warner have returned from Iraq to report that while the “surge” may be producing “measurable results” in reducing violence, they are “not optimistic” that the Iraq government will use its newfound “breathing space” to make the compromises “essential for a political solution in Iraq.”

In a follow-up press conference call with reporters, Levin made it clear that his was no glass-half-full assessment. “The purpose of the surge, by its own terms, was to … give the opportunity to the Iraqi leaders to reach some political settlements,” Levin said. “They have failed to do that. They have totally and utterly failed.”

Fox News’ headline on Levin’s report? Think Progress caught it: “Sens. Warner and Levin Travel to Iraq, Praise Surge Results.”

Read the rest of Grieve’s post to see similar treatment given to a statement by Senator Clinton.

But now the MSM has taken up the narrative that Democrats have conceded the surge is a military success, even though they haven’t. A headline in today’s Washington Post: “Democrats Refocus Message on Iraq After Military Gains.”

Taylor Marsh discusses the media misquotes. See also Media Matters.

Today President Bush will be addressing members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, and news reports say he plans to argue in favor of his Iraq War by comparing it to Vietnam. If you don’t already realize how stupid that is, Josh Marshall explains it for you.

And if you didn’t already know that the surge isn’t working, R.J. Eskow explains that for you, too.

13 thoughts on “Selling the Surge

  1. Never heard the inherent fallacy of the ‘sunk cost theory’ explained before. (Thanks, JM and you.)

  2. This is a serious problem, and it’s infuriating, but I have to say I love that Ari is using the name Freedom Watch. It’s also the name of a shadowy wingnut group that appeared from time to time in the tv show The West Wing. They were always throwing subpoenas at Josh Lyman and nearly succeeded in driving the Chief of Staff from office for past drug and alcohol abuse.

    Life imitates art once again…

  3. Funny that Ari is using the ‘peace through strength’ spiel when his former boss has done more than anyone to undermine the world’s (and the terrists’) opinion of our nation’s strength. Aside from the way he is actually saying that staying engaged in the Iraq WAR is PEACE (h/t Orwell), he’s suggesting that spending billions a week and thousands of lives counter-productively radicalizing and destabilizing the region is “strength”. The ‘most powerful military in the world’ is tied down ineffectually for years as its enemies grow stronger. That’s “strength” all right.

    Perhaps when the ‘cavalry’ comes, they can bring Ari’s medication with them?

  4. I’m curious to know which twenty states will be treated to this fear fest, and why them.

    My guess is that it will have some effect, unless the ads are laughable, which could happen given how tone deaf these people are. I feel that the truth of the situation is so overwhelming, and people are no longer so afraid of the right wing machine, that it will be good money badly spent. So let those Republicans waste their dough on trying to command the tide. Throw more cash at the ocean.

    I’m a lot more concerned when Hillary Clinton is saying stuff like the tactics in Iraq are working, just years too late. Jesus – the Republicans may as well just hire her instead.

  5. “Peace through strength?” Wonder when we’re going to get Ari’s take on “Triumph of the Will,” or the need for more “Living Space” somewhere outside Das Homeland?

  6. It’s also the name of a shadowy wingnut group that appeared from time to time in the tv show The West Wing.

    The more I think about it, the more I think “Freedom Watch” sounds like “storm watch” or “terrorist watch.” Clearly, this is an organization formed to keep a watch out for freedom and send out warnings whenever it spots any.

  7. Clearly, this is an organization formed to keep a watch out for freedom and send out warnings whenever it spots any.

    BWAH! “Oh, no! There’s some freedom over there! No, there, behind the couch! Kill it!”

    And moonbat, Americablog has the whole list of states and markets, and both that site and firedoglake has some in-depth analysis.

  8. Thanks, merciless (#7). According to AmericaBlog, they’re mostly targeting their own GOP congress people. Talk about enforcing party discipline – with a $15 M club… Click the link above for a cute Thank You note to Ari Fleischer – excerpt:

    “The revival of your role as salesman-in-chief for the White House’s failed war policy is also welcome. We were looking for a way to connect this mysterious “Freedom Watch” outfit to the White House Iraq PR machine. And then it turned out that you made our job very simple—you are in charge. This is the “White House Ad campaign.”

    “Our researchers tell us your ads are targeting 90% Republicans (37 out of 41). We’ve had strong fundraising but we never thought a $15 million TV buy was in the works. Every extra minute of TV time talking about Iraq is another drip, drip, drip of bad news for politicians who won’t break with Bush. So, thanks.”

  9. I’ve only seen the ads on the internet and news programs that features Joe Biden saying. ” Let’s get it right so we don’t “have” to go back in a couple of years”…. It makes sense to me, seeing how we “had” to go there in the first place.

  10. No trouble at all, moonbat. Also, thanks for linkng to Americablog for everyone; my linking skills just suck.

  11. I think the reason the media pushes the narrative that the surge is a smashing success is pretty simple, as it must be to explain the behavior of simpletons: it represents a change in the story, so it is, by definition, News. Just like cats are mesmerized by movement, so are the media, except they have the power to create their own (narrative) movement even when the facts don’t support it (or contradict it).
    There it is, folks: your MSM, smart as kittens.

  12. There it is, folks: your MSM, smart as kittens.

    Oh, you go too far!

    How could you say that about kittens?!

    Comparing them to the MSM . . . heartless, heartless . . .

  13. I agree with Dan S.!

    I came across a term in a Ray McGovern commentary at Common Dreams: “the corporate-owned, war profiteering media”
    And, I have given it the obvious acronym (COWPM). Let’s see if we can replace MSM with COWPM. As long as they are still referred to as mainstream, they will never change. If we succeed, we can give McGovern his props; but, say it all started at the Mahablog.

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